Monday, March 22, 2010

Monument Square to host ‘Troygle’ event Tuesday

Published: Monday, March 22, 2010

By Dave Canfield
The Record

TROY — Supporters of the Collar City’s bid to become a Google test market will take to downtown streets Tuesday to show the company, literally, that they want its ultra high-speed internet.

Organizers plan on filming the event they’ve dubbed “The Need for Speed,” slated for 5 to 7 p.m. at Monument Square, for submission as part of their application to the rapidly expanding California-based company that is now a household name. Those applications seeking to prove worthiness for high-speed broadband internet are due Friday.

Lisa Powell Graham, who has been organizing the effort to bring Google to Troy, said she’s never seen as much extensive support as has been offered for the efforts of the group, which has established a Web site at She hopes as many people as possible will come out for Tuesday’s rain-or-shine event.

“We just need to have as big of a crowd as we can get,” Graham said. “We need to do this and have this presence now, before the applications are due.”

The Hellions of Troy roller derby team will be on hand, and the first 100 attendees will receive a free Uncle Sam hat. Organizers plan to make Google very aware that the Collar City was once home to the man behind that legend.

The video’s expected narration introduces Troy as a place “where history, culture and technology meet,” noting its architecture, 19th-century industrial prominence and its location in New York’s Tech Valley region. It references President Barack Obama’s recent visit to the city as well as the presence of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the oldest technological university in the English-speaking world.

The high density of technology companies and educational institutions in the area would give Google all the cooperation they needed to get the broadband system running and successful, Graham said.

“All the local colleges and schools are on board. The businesses are on board. City Hall is 100 percent behind it,” she said. “We think we’re poised to give them what they need in terms of partnership.”

According to Google, the fiber-optic broadband is capable of downloading up to one gigabit per second, which is some 100 times faster than connection speeds available to most Americans. Supporters say speed like that not only makes Troy a desirable place for residents, but could also be a deciding factor in bringing technology firms to the area.

Likely for those same reasons, Troy isn’t the only city vying to be the project’s guinea pig. Scores of Facebook pages exist to support different markets, and other cities have pulled stunts like the one Troy will see Tuesday. The mayor of Duluth, Minn., recently jumped into a chilly Lake Superior to get company’s attention, and Topeka, Kan., has temporarily and informally re-named itself “Google” for the time being.

Applications are also being submitted on behalf of other Capital District municipalities, though none have attracted the local attention that Troy’s has.

It has not been announced how many test markets Google will choose, or even if they will select more than one. But Graham said that, regardless of the outcome, supporters’ efforts won’t go to waste.

“No matter what happens with the Google application, we want to put Troy on the map anyways. We want to make Troy a Mecca for technology and arts, no matter what,” she said. “We think Google should pick us. But, regardless, we’re going to take the energy forward and really make great things happen in Troy.”

Dave Canfield can be reached at 270-1290 or by e-mail at

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